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HMS Challenger was dispatched, but the warship would not reach New York for at least 24 hours.Not taking sides: Lord Palmerston’s Liberal government announced that Britain would remain neutral. By 1863 he was also madly in love with a Southern belle named Julia.There were, after all, more than three million British immigrants living in the U. at the time — despite the fact that a bitter Anglophobia rooted in British colonial rule almost 100 years earlier was still widespread.And at home, not only was slavery a deeply emotive political topic since being abolished in England three decades earlier, but so, too, was cotton.When the Southern states declared independence from the North, forming themselves into a confederacy, President Lincoln’s administration declared their secession illegal — and hostilities between the two sides began on April 12, 1861.

Lee ­surrendered a week later and the war was over.

The more she demanded to see the British Consul, the more the Federal prison authorities tried to break her spirit.

‘I often wonder since [how] I kept my senses,’ she wrote later, ‘for many have lost their reason for less cruelty.’ After a couple of months in prison, Mary succeeded in getting a letter to the British Ambassador Lord Lyons in Washington. Lord Lyons was outraged by the State Department’s explanation that a cold shower was pleasant in the summer.

Officially, Lord Palmerston’s Liberal government announced that Britain would remain neutral.

It was a decision that incensed both the Federals and the Confederates, each of whom accused Britain of betrayal.

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Dr Blackwell ordered the servants to close the shutters and bar the doors.

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